The Intemperances of Mr. Trump

Donald Trump’s irritable, irreverent temperament is the acid on everyone’s lips in our planet’s political circles, but his true insolence is more implicit than all the crude insults. In the last forum where he really took the lid off the can, in the Group of Seven leading industrial nations summit with all his world leader counterparts, the business magnate made it clear that the United States is a piggy bank that everyone robs. Such harsh words for such fine ears!

The reality is that in the depths of the U.S. president’s brain is the cemented conviction that U.S. trade is being controlled by the rest of the world, in particular its main partners, while the country is left alone to shoulder the economic weight of NATO for the benefit and security of others. For him, this is all misunderstood magnanimity, and for the U.S. to tolerate it is the same as allowing the rest of the word to laugh behind the back of the great superpower.

Looking at it rationally, what is becoming clearer in the global market today is that the U.S. cannot, in a fair fight, continue to maintain the trade deficit that it has dragged along for years without seeing severe, structural problems in its economy. The numbers aren’t pretty, to say the least. Last year the U.S. spent $793 billion more than it was able to bring in outside its borders. In the case of China, the Asian giant bought over $376 billion in foreign products from the Americans.

Clearly, numbers of this size can’t be simply ignored. Nor can the superpower be expected to shrug off damage of this magnitude. The sensible thing to do would be to look for a way of shrinking this enormous hole facing Washington.

And so, the increase in tariffs and the spread of a protectionist arsenal against the entire world and against China, which alone accounts for half of the deficit, can’t simply be chalked up to a matter of more rash, circus tactics by the American leader, but as an actual proposal for a solution, expressed loudly and inadequately. It’s worth mentioning that the trade imbalance is now 24 percent higher than when Trump was first sworn in a little over a year ago.

The team in the White House is well aware that any increase in tariffs serves as much to reduce U.S. trade with the rest of the world as it does to penalize the American consumer. Returning to cheap criticism, we have to wonder whether Trump’s wild attitudes could be part of a well-crafted drama that serves his every interest.

In the end, what we have come to learn is that good judgment triumphs, and that he who hurls names against his equals changes his tune and returns to the fold when his advisers tell him to.

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